Everyday African Food and Beautiful Culture

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Stewed African Peanut Butter Okra Soup

Okra originated from present-day Ethiopia in Africa Okra is a popular vegetable which originated from present-day Ethiopia in Africa. Stewed African Okra Soup is made with peanut butter, tomatoes, corn and spices to create a flavorful filling soup the entire family will love.

 

Stewed African Peanut Butter Okra Stew

Stewed African Peanut Butter Okra side-dish
African recipes by African Gourmet  

Get this easy-to-follow Stewed African Peanut Butter Okra side-dish from the African Gourmet. Okra is a popular vegetable which originated from present-day Ethiopia in Africa.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
 
Ingredients:
2 cups of fresh or frozen okra
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 cup canned whole kernel corn
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 tablespoons palm oil
½ teaspoon red pepper flake
1 tablespoon peanut butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups vegetable broth or water
Directions:
In a large pot over medium heat, sauté palm oil and onions until the onions become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add green onions and mix well. Add tomatoes and dry seasonings. Cook about 10 minutes. Add okra, corn, peanut butter and broth, cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Serve over rice or as a side dish.
 
Okra originated from present-day Ethiopia in Africa 
Did you know…?
The ripe seeds of okra are sometimes roasted and ground as a substitute for coffee.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The “The” officially belongs in front of Gambia since 1964

Gambian Woman by gisela gerson lohman braun The “The” officially belongs in front of Gambia since 1964. The Permanent Committee on Geographical Names says "A letter dated May 1964 from the Gambian prime minister's office instructed that The Gambia should be used with a capital T. One of the reasons they gave was that Gambia could be confused with Zambia, which was a new name to the international community at the time."


Interesting facts about The Gambia


§  The official name is Republic of The Gambia.

§  The Gambia gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1965.


The Gambia Capital city is Banjul
The Gambia Capital city is Banjul
§  The Gambia is Africa's smallest mainland country at 11,295 sq km or 4,361 sq miles.

§  The Gambia is geographically surrounded by Senegal.

§  From 1982-1989 The Gambia and Senegal formed Senegambia.

§  The Gambia Capital city is Banjul.

§  The 1,130km or 700 mile long Gambia River runs through the middle of the country and using the ferry or small privately owned wooden pirogues boats as means of transportation across the river to Senegal is common practice.

§  The peanut crop dominates The Gambia agricultural exports about 75% of the population depends on the agricultural sector for its livelihood as well as one of the larger markets for tourism in West Africa.

§  The median age of the nearly 2 million Gambians residents is 20.2 years old.


The Gambia banned gambling March 1, 2015
The Gambia banned gambling March 1, 2015
§  The Gambia banned gambling March 1, 2015, denouncing the industry as "exploitative" and saying the government acted to prevent its youth from becoming a generation of addicts.

§  The Gambia ethnic groups mainly fall into the Mandinka 42%, Fula 18%, Wolof 16%, Jola 10%, Serahuli 9%, other 4%, and non-African 1%.

§  The Gambia religions are divided roughly into Muslim 90%, Christian 8%, and indigenous beliefs 2%.

§  The Gambia national symbol is the lion and national anthem "For The Gambia, Our Homeland".

§  Administrative divisions are one city of Banjul and five divisions of the Central River, Lower River, North Bank, Upper River, and Western.


The Gambia flag
The Gambia flag
§  The Gambia flag; three equal horizontal bands of red (top), blue with white edges, and green; red stands for the sun and the savannah, blue represents the Gambia River, and green symbolizes forests and agriculture; the white stripes denote unity and peace.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Africa in the Bones: Witchdoctors, Sangoma, Nyanga and Traditional Healers

In Southen African society, the Sangoma acts as a therapist for issues of health, luck, love, dream interpretation, sexual problems, or business ventures. Nyanga’s seek the nature of the illness and its cure by meditating or going into a trance in order to get advice from a God or spirit. Sangoma's and Nyanga's are not witch-doctors however the term is unofficially used interchangeably by the general population, the official term is traditional healer used by governments and organizations. Traditional healing is linked to wider belief systems and remains integral to the lives of most Africans. 


Traditional healer in Uganda photograph by Panos Jim Holmes
A traditional healer in Uganda treating a patient’s dizziness.
Photograph by Panos Jim Holmes
Health is defined in The World Health Organization’s Constitution as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Who states this definition extends beyond the traditional Western bio-medical standard which treats body, mind and society as separate entities and reflects a more holistic understanding of health. Some African peoples have a similar understanding of health as well-being and the harmony that exists between individuals, communities and the universe.  

WHO estimates there is around 80 percent of the population in developing countries around the world rely on traditional healing systems as their primary source of care. It is estimated that there are approximately 400 million Traditional Health Practitioners (THPs) around the world, often providing access to health care in remote and rural areas. In Zulu societies, the Sangoma is a highly respected traditional healer and Nyanga is the esteemed traditional herbalist. The Sangoma may act as a therapist for issues of health, luck, love, dreams, sexual problems, or business ventures.
Animal bones, sea shells, and nuts used by Sangoma’s for readings
Slaughtered animal bones, sea shells, and nuts
 are usually used by Sangoma’s 
for bone divination readings


Men and women take up the profession after a long training period; a sangoma in training is called an itwasa. Some believe that each person has a fixed number of souls. These souls may leave the body and wander around, especially at night when people dream. Nyanga is a traditional herbalist using ancestors or amadlozi as a medium of prayer to God. Nyanga’s seek the nature of the illness and its cure by meditating or going into a trance in order to get advice from a God or spirit. Some traditional healers use good magic as a cure because they believe that illnesses including psychological issues have supernatural origins. Nyanga’s are misleading labeled evil witchdoctors. A true healer cannot take part in any action that can harm or negatively influence another person and believes God has the ultimate power, it is a spiritual calling. 

Protest march in 2012 against witch killings photo by AP
Protest march in 2012 against witch killings
in Northwest Tanzania
While it is true a healer cannot take part in any action that can harm or negatively influence another, in 2015 Tanzania banned all witchdoctors or traditional healers to stop attacks on people with albinism and women thought to be witches. More than 70 people with albinism have been killed since 2000. Tanzania has one of the largest populations of people with Albinism in the world with an estimated 170,000. In the heart of Lake Victoria, Ukerewe Island is home to a large community of people with albinism. People with albinism are killed and dismembered due to a belief that charms made from their body parts bring good fortune and prosperity. There is a great black market demand for the body parts of people with albinism selling for around US$600. Thousands of women in Tanzania have also been burned to death or hung because they were thought to be witches with red eyes. Having red eyes is a supposed sign of practicing witchcraft. This witchcraft belief is a small sect but a treacherous one.

Sangoma's are revered and respected
Sangoma's are revered and respected for predicting
the future trough bone divination readings
The Traditional Healers Organization (THO) organizes, trains and certifies traditional health practitioners. Each society has different kinds of traditional healers. In one ad a witchdoctor states he “returns back the lost love ones, make a partner faithful, recovers stolen property, offers protection from witches and criminals, helps with troublesome teens, assist with finding jobs and to be favored in the work place, and bestow blessings and good luck in anything. Some believe in the power of the traditional healer and some believe they are burglars who steal money from vulnerable people. Whatever the opinion traditional healers have a major influence on parts of African society and that influence is a deep-seated belief in traditional healing practices. Traditional healing is linked to wider belief systems and remains integral to the lives of most Africans. People consult traditional healers whether or not they can afford medical services.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Kenyan Amaranth Ukwaju Fish Soup

Kenyan Amaranth Ukwaju Fish Soup by jules stone soupThe amaranth plant is an ancient food crop, with cultivation dating back as far as 6700 BC. Cooked Amaranth leaves are eaten as vegetables, soups, stews and relishes. Leaves and young plant stems are cooked in Kenya and throughout Eastern and Southern Africa as spinach. Kenyan Ukwaju or Kenya tamarind is a sour tasting paste used as a spice. Amaranth leaves have a mild flavor and when paired with another local favorite, Ukwaju Kenyan Amaranth Ukwaju Fish Soup makes delicious satisfying African meal. 



Kenyan Amaranth Ukwaju Fish Soup


African Recipes by

Kenyan Ukwaju or Kenya tamarind is a sour tasting paste used as a spice. Amaranth leaves have a mild flavor and when paired with Ukwaju, Kenyan Amaranth Ukwaju Fish Soup makes delicious satisfying African recipe. 

Ingredients: 
1 pound red snapper fillets 
2 large handfuls amaranth or spinach leaves 
1/2 cup tamarind juice 
1 tablespoon tamarind paste 
1 large red onion, chopped 
2 tablespoons tomato paste 
1 teaspoon shallots, chopped 
1 teaspoon onion salt 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
2 tablespoons salted butter 
4 cups fish stock or water 

Directions:
Add all ingredients except amaranth or spinach leaves into a large pot and simmer 30 minutes. Add leaves simmer 5 minutes and serve.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ostrich Frikkadels Meatballs

Frikkadel is the Afrikaans word for a meatball Photo by jakeprzespo

Frikkadel is the Afrikaans word for a meatball and ostrich is a very popular meat eaten in Southern Africa. Ostrich meat is very lean with very low fat content and is a healthier red meat. Frikkadel ostrich meatballs is a very versatile recipe used for spaghetti and meatballs, stews, sandwiches and in any of dish as a substitute for beef.

Ostrich Frikkadels

Ostrich Frikkadels spaghetti and meatballs

Ostrich meat tastes like beef and is used for frying, stewing, sautéing or in any of dish as a substitute for beef.
 
Ingredients:     
1 pound ground ostrich meat     
1 onion finely chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs

Directions:
In a large bowl mix all ingredients well and form into equal size balls. In a large frying pan set to medium heat ad 1 tablespoon olive oil cook covered 5 minutes and uncovered 10 minutes until cooked through. Serve as an appetizer, a meatball sandwich with homemade barbeque sauce or as spaghetti and meatballs.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Savory Garlic Butter Potbrood

Potbrood is delicious African food

Potbrood or Pot Bread is one of South Africa’s favorite rustic outdoor cooking and camping African bread recipes. Potbrood is delicious African food made in a cast iron pot traditionally cooked over barbeque coals or braai in South Africa. The varies of Potbrood are endless, the classic recipe can be easily made at home and you can also add cheese, rosemary, onions, beer, raisins, apricots, billabong or any of your favorite ingredients.

 

Savory Garlic Butter Potbrood

Savory Garlic Butter Potbrood

Potbrood is bread made in a cast iron pot traditionally cooked over barbeque coals or braai in South Africa.
 
Ingredients:     
2 cups self-rising flour     
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/3 cup unsalted softened butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
   
Directions:
In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar, then mix in eggs and spices. Mix flour into moist mixture. Transfer mixture to a greased cast iron pot with a lid. Allow the dough to rise 2 hours covered in a warm place. Over very low coals, bake for about 30 minutes. Insert a knife into the bread, if it comes out clean the Potbrood is ready. Finding the right temperature to make the Potbrood on the grill can be tricky but practice makes perfect.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anopheles mosquitoes the deadliest insect's in sub-Saharan Africa

There are about 430 Anopheles species of mosquitoes of which 30-40 transmit life-threatening malaria. Anopheles mosquitoes are the deadliest insect's in sub-Saharan Africa where it causes nearly a million deaths a year.





Malaria parasite by the National Institutes of Health
Malaria parasite by the National Institutes of Health
Malaria is caused by a one-celled parasite called Plasmodium and female Anopheles mosquitoes can only transmit malaria. The adult females can live up to 7-28 days in nature. Once a mosquito ingests the Plasmodium parasite it undergoes development and an incubation period from 10 to 21 days. The mosquito must have been infected through a previous blood meal from an infected person.  Female mosquitoes take blood in order to carry out egg production. When a mosquito bites an infected person, a small amount of blood is taken in which may contain malaria parasites. About one week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito's saliva and are injected into the person being bitten. Malaria parasites multiply rapidly in the liver and then in red blood cells of the infected person.


Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and yellowing of the skin and eyes because of the loss of red blood cells. If not quickly treated, the infection can become severe and may cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma and even death. There are four types of human malaria: Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. falciparum. P. vivax and P. falciparum are the most common forms. Falciparum malaria is the most deadly type and the most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where it causes nearly a million deaths a year.


Malaria prevention
Malaria prevention
Target 6C on the UN Millennium Development Goals is to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases. In the African country of Benin 64 percent of children slept under bed nets in 2010, up from 20 percent in 2006. The number of pregnant women sleeping under bed nets rose from 20 percent to 60 percent during the same period. In 2010 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died, 91% lived in the African Region. In 2012 malaria conditions slightly improved, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012. Unfortunately, 90% of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and 77% occur in children under five. Malaria has been the number one reason for health center visits in Benin for the last decade. Severe malaria kills 1,500-2,000 Beninese children every year and causes anemia in most children. About 40% of malaria deaths occur in just two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Swahili Proverb: Chickens Prayers Does Not Affect the Hawk

Dua la kuku halimpati mwewe is Swahili proverb for ”A chicken's prayer doesn't affect a hawk” As Martin Luther King, Jr. said  “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Standing strong in the face of controversy remembering, adversity is another way to measure the greatness of a person.



Swahili proverb



Dua la kuku halimpati mwewe is Swahili proverb for ”A chicken's prayer doesn't affect a hawk” Swahili translation by Kali Mata Ki Jai Foundation

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lake Naivasha Rose Water Honey Syrup

Kenya is world famous for its cut flower farms especially the roses Honey is valued in Africa as food, medicine and as an important economic activity. Since honeys are of different flavors and compositions, however, such replacements may result in changes of flavor, consistency, and the quantities of honey. The color and flavor of honey vary depending on the bees’ nectar source; lighter colored honeys are mild in flavor, while darker honeys are usually more robust in flavor. Kenya is world famous for its cut flower farms especially the roses. Main growing areas are around Lake Naivasha. Floriculture pioneer Oserian Farms was founded in 1982 and was the first flower farm on Lake Naivasha.

Lake Naivasha Rose Water Honey Syrup

African Rose Honey Syrup

Across the African continent, there are many ways of preparing African Rose Honey Syrup. Honey can replace sugar in almost any drink recipe but is most popular in flavoring teas.
 
Ingredients:     
¼ Cup Light Colored Honey     
Petals from Two Sweet Smelling Roses
4 Cups Water
   
Directions:
In a large pot simmer water and rose petals on medium low 15 minutes, remove from heat let sit for 2-24 hours. The longer the mixture sits the stronger the infusion of roses. Filter out rose pedals and mix the rose water with honey until mixture is the consistency of syrup. Use African Rose Honey Syrup as a sweetener for teas, oatmeal, pancakes, ice cream etc…

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Simple Mabuyu Baobab Seed Juice Recipe

Mabuyu Baobab Juice



Mabuyu Baobab (bay-oh-bab) Juice is popular in sub-Saharan African countries especially in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Tanzania.


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Prep time: 5 min 

Mabuyu Baobab Juice
Mabuyu Baobab Juice
Chill time: 5 min
Total time: 10 min
Yield: 2 servings
Serving size: 8 ounces
Calories per serving: 15 calories
Fat per serving: 0 g

 

Mabuyu Baobab Juice

Ingredients:

Dried baobab fruit powder:
2 tablespoons

Sparkling water: 2 cups

Sugar: to taste

Add an additional fruit juice: optional

Directions:

1. Add all ingredients into a large jar and mix well.

2. Add ice and serve.

3. The taste of dried baobab pulp is rather mild.

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